The children’s theater company signs deal to perform their November show at Valley Strong Ballpark
VISALIA – After a series of setbacks over the past couple years, the Enchanted Playhouse Theater Company (EPTC) seems to be rallying in 2021. On June 1, EPTC board president Shanna Meier signed a deal with Rawhide management to host the company’s fall 2021 performance at Valley Strong Ballpark (formerly Recreation Ballpark) in Visalia. This comes after EPTC held its first performance in over a year due to state-mandated shutdowns. That production was performed on June 10, 11 and 12.
The performances at Valley Strong Ballpark are slated for Nov. 5, 6 and 7. The show and director will likely be announced by the end of this month, Meier said in an email. At this time, they are not anticipating coronavirus-related restrictions for the public performances.
Being an outdoor venue presents new challenges for the theater company, such as having to develop contingencies in case of bad weather. But it has its advantages, too. “Outside will have its challenges with scene changes but we can also use the outside venue to show the feel of being outside in a meadow or field,” Meier said.
It also allows EPTC to create an atmosphere that being in a theater does not allow. “We will use this venue to try to make it more of a picnic type feel or a park type feel,” Meier said.
The new venue could offer new experiences for some students, too. “One thing we noticed with the Fox is that many of these students had never been inside and were in awe of the venue,” Meier said. “We are hoping to bring this same experience with Valley Strong Stadium. Not only do we want to help local school children with literacy and the chance to see a live theater performance but also expose them to our local treasures.”
With the new venue, the EPTC board plans on once again offering performances for local schools. In the past, schools have taken fieldtrips to watch EPTC performances for free. It will depend on restrictions put on schools in the fall, but the board hopes this new outdoor venue will make it possible again. EPTC plans to host four performances for visiting schools at Valley Strong Ballpark between Nov. 4 and 5.
EPTC plans on returning to the Visalia Fox Theatre in March or April 2022. “No contract has been completed yet, but we have both expressed desire to start back up,” Meier said. “We have been waiting for the Fox to know when they can completely open up, which is hopefully this month.” Meier and the theater’s board anticipate meeting soon to begin planning.
EPTC has not decided on a show for its spring 2022 performance yet, but they are considering shows from last season, which was canceled due to state shutdowns. “We are hoping to bring back one of the shows that was scheduled for our 2020-2021 season,” Meier said. She suggested it could be Snow White.
The new arrangement with Rawhide may become an annual occurrence. “Both sides are hoping to make this a yearly performance at Rawhide,” Meier said. “We are still planning on three to four shows at the Fox per year and possibly one at Rawhide every year.”
“The Rawhide front office is excited to bring something new to Valley Strong Ballpark with Enchanted Playhouse Theater Company,” Jillian Gearin, director of broadcasting and media relations manager for Visalia Rawhide, said in an email. “We know our field has been used to bring families together around baseball, but we are thrilled to have families come together surrounding the arts.”
To learn more, purchase tickets, and support Enchanted Playhouse Theater Company, visit enchantedplayhouse.org or their Facebook page, or call 559-972-7027.